Cats are obligate carnivores, which means that the vast majority of their dietary intake should really come from meat and animal-based ingredients. However, with that said, it is not unusual for cats to be given fruit, vegetables, and some herbs, especially in commercial cat food because of the potential health benefits that they have to offer.
Thyme, which is a perennial herb, is typically grown for its ornamental and culinary uses, but it is not only considered safe for cats, but proposed to help kill worms, improve digestive system health, and prevent fungal growth, hence its inclusion in some foods and feline supplements.
Read on for more information about thyme and its potential health benefits to cats, as well as some alternatives and ways in which you can give this herb to your feline family members.
Potential Health Benefits of Thyme to Cats
1. Kill Worms
Many cats will suffer from intestinal worms at some point in their lives. They’re unpleasant and they can cause gastro-intestinal problems and illness. Thymol, which is found in thyme, has been shown to have some anti-parasitic properties but is not 100% effective and should not be relied upon to treat worms.
2. Prevent Bacterial Growth
Thymol is a chemical agent that has been shown to have anti-bacterial and antifungal properties.
3. Improve Digestive Health
Thyme is said to improve digestive health with its antioxidant, anti-parasitic and anti-bacterial properties.
Other Healthy Herbs
As well as thyme, there is an herb called cat thyme which has similar effects to that of catnip but smells stronger. It is not related to thyme but is a relative to germander and does carry certain health benefits, such as stress relief for cats. Below are three other herbs that have health or mental benefits for your cat.
Most cat owners are aware of catnip and the seemingly intoxicating effect it can have on cats. It lifts their mood, reduces stress and anxiety, and can even be used as a topical application as part of a bath to help reduce itchiness and flaking skin. It doesn’t work on all cats, but it is considered safe, so there’s no reason not to give it a try.
Valerian is given to humans to help them sleep but acts as a stimulant for cats. It tends to be a tasty favorite with cats, so it should be easy to feed and is especially popular with lazy cats that need to lose weight because it will encourage them to exercise.
3. Licorice Root
Licorice root is another supplement that a lot of cats like the flavor of. It can soothe itching skin and help alleviate certain skin conditions. It may also help combat digestive, respiratory, and inflammatory complaints in your pet kitty.
How to Give Thyme to your Cats
If you want to try feeding thyme to your cats, it is worth noting that not all felines will enjoy the flavor. Firstly, ensure that the thyme you choose is organic because, while the thyme itself is non-toxic, any chemicals or pesticides that are used may prove very toxic and could make your cat quite ill. Start with a small amount and see how your cat reacts before feeding a little more at a time. Typically, it is best to use a supplement or some kind of thyme product because this will be portioned appropriately for your cat to ensure that you are not administering too large of a dose.
Thyme is a popular herb used in cooking and as a medicinal aid for humans. It also has certain health benefits for cats so, not only is it safe for your kitty to eat, but it could actually prove beneficial. It has proven effective at killing worms, aiding digestive health, and preventing bacterial and fungal growths in laboratory conditions. Consult a vet to ensure there is no reason to avoid giving it to your cat and start with a small amount before potentially increasing the dose. Bear in mind that not all cats will enjoy the flavor of this herb.
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